The Transportation Security Administration dropped the mask mandate that previously required all passengers to wear a face-covering on all flights.
Florida's Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle–a President Donald Trump appointee–struck down the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s national mask mandate on most public transportation on Monday.
The federal court ruling led several major US airlines–including American, Delta, Southwest, United, Jet Blue, Spirit, and Alaska Air–to announce they would no longer enforce the COVID-19 health mandate.
Mixed reactions were instantaneous, including a joyous one evidenced in a viral video in which a flight attendant was seen marking the occasion by singing "throw away your masks."
Not everyone appreciated his celebratory chant eliciting cheers from onboard passengers.
Many fear the mask-free announcement will only prolong the pandemic as other parts of the country are seeing a significant spike in COVID cases.
Those who are immunocompromised expressed their new fear and frustration in the midst of a near-post-pandemic era.
Others scoffed at the theatrics in the video following the laxed rule.
They also thought the COVID mandate should still be in place as other variants of the viral pathogen continue mutating and infecting people–regardless of vaccination status.
People not in a position to speak on behalf of others who are still vulnerable downplayed their concerns.
In spite of the voided mask rule, experts wonder if the U.S. understands the current threat of COVID-19.
According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, only an estimated 7% of positive Covid-19 cases in the US are being detected–which means case rates are 14.5 times higher than officially reported.
We are not out of the woods yet as COVID cases continue to rise in the country.